I have firefox already running on my system, and now in minimised state. What I want is to close the current tab running in firefox. How can I do this by simply using commands in terminal?


To keep Firefox minimized after closing its current tab (according to OP, see the comment) use the following commands in a terminal,

wmctrl -a firefox; xdotool key Ctrl+w; wmctrl -r firefox -b add,shaded

How it works

wmctrl -a firefox

Go to the window with a name containing 'firefox' in it

xdotool key Ctrl+w

Send the keystroke Ctrl+W to firefox which is the shortcut to close current tab in firefox.

wmctrl -r firefox -b add,shaded

Shade a window with a title that contains the word 'firefox' in it.

To know more about these see man xdotool and man wmctrl

Alias for above command

You can make an alias for the above commands, say the alias name be cfct ( Close Firefox Current Tab) in ~/.bashrc or better in ~/.bash_aliases from a terminal as,

echo -e "\nalias cfct='wmctrl -a firefox; xdotool key Ctrl+w; wmctrl -r firefox -b add,shaded'" >> ~/.bash_aliases
. ~/.bash_aliases

If you don't have ~/.bash_aliases replace ~/.bash_aliases in the above commands with ~/.bashrc


open a terminal and enter


And it will close Firefox’s current tab instantaneously.

Note: You need to have wmctrl and xdotool installed in your system. To install them use,

sudo apt-get install wmctrl xdotool
  • the browser window gets opened, which is not supposed to. how to avoid this?
    – shivshnkr
    Feb 15 '14 at 20:37
  • Quite unreliable in that it sends Ctrl+W to the last opened window, regardless if it is Firefox or not.
    – kiri
    Feb 16 '14 at 6:42
  • @minerz029 You are correct. check my edits.
    – sourav c.
    Feb 16 '14 at 6:48
  • Can i choose another tab than the current?
    – m3nda
    Apr 15 '15 at 17:02
  • @m3nda You can switch tabs before you close the tab. You can switch to the first tab using Alt+1 or use any other number to switch to a different 𝑛th tab. To close the 2nd tab for example: wmctrl -a firefox; xdotool key Alt+2; xdotool key Ctrl+w; wmctrl -r firefox -b add,shaded
    – mchid
    Dec 5 '19 at 0:25

You can install this Add-on: https://github.com/bard/mozrepl/wiki and enable it with Tools->MozRepl->Start. After that you can script Firefox from outside. Create following test.js file:


And run it following way:

nc localhost 4242 < test.js

Just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command(s) below:


and click on the tab you want to close.

  • firefox is minimised, i have already stated.
    – shivshnkr
    May 15 '13 at 6:29
  • 5
    Also: xkill would kill the whole Firefox and not only one tab. May 15 '13 at 6:57

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